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Russian torture of Ukrainian POWs ‘widespread and systematic,’ UN commission says

by Chris York March 15, 2024 3:09 PM 1 min read
Over 200 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) returned from Russian captivity on Jan. 3, 2024. (President Volodymyr Zelensky/Telegram)
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Russian torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) is “widespread and systematic” and shows a “blatant disregard for human dignity,” a report from a United Nations commission of inquiry on Ukraine said on March 15.

The report details several “horrific” cases with testimony from victims describing “relentless, brutal treatment inflicting severe pain and suffering during prolonged detention.”

“One Ukrainian soldier, who was detained and tortured by Russian authorities in several detention facilities, recounted his experience in the correctional colony in the town of Donskoy, Tula region, where he was repeatedly subjected to torture and left with broken bones, broken teeth and gangrene on an injured foot,” the report reads.

“‘I lost any hope and the will to live,’ the soldier said, adding that he had tried to kill himself but perpetrators subjected him to further beating.”

The document also highlights “incidents of rape and other sexual violence committed against women in circumstances which also amount to torture” as well as “incidents of torture with a sexualized dimension and threats of rape against male prisoners of war.”

Speaking to journalists in Geneva after the release of the findings, the chair of the commission, Erik Møse, said: “Victims' accounts disclose relentless brutal treatment inflicting severe pain and suffering during prolonged detention, with blatant disregard for human dignity.”

The torture and execution of Ukrainian POWs has been well-documented throughout Russia’s full-scale invasion.

In March of last year, the UN Human Rights Office’s mission in Ukraine released a report based on interviews with 203 Ukrainian POWs, who reported that Russian soldiers and Federal Security Service (FSB) officers “tortured and ill-treated them in order to obtain military information, to intimidate or humiliate them, or take revenge.”

According to the report, "the conditions of detention of many Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian captivity were shocking."

An investigation by the Kyiv Independent in December revealed the inhumane conditions of detention, hunger, and torture found at one Russian camp in particular – Olenivka prison, located in Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast, recording dozens of interviews with the servicemen and civilians who witnessed gross violations of international law.

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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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